Organic Gardening Techniques - Fresh Start Growers
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Organic Gardening Techniques

It’s the time of year when weeds and insects and heat all combine to overwhelm organic farmers and gardeners. The promise of spring is gone and the reality of a field battle overtakes us, our plants, and our animals. Most folks are looking for recovery solutions to regain control of the situation. But a few folks have seen these challenges coming well beforehand and make preps to stop the problems before they start. What are they doing that most of us don’t?

First of all the proactive organic farmer is building his soil- the bedrock of a successful growing. They put in organic cover crop last fall in their fields and their raised beds. They tested their soil for ph, macro nutrients,
micronutrients, and organic matter. They created a record of what was planted where. They applied organic fertilizers, soil and amendments and compost to re-balance the soil.

But the proactive organic farmer is also thinking polyculturally. Creating a holistic biosphere that protects, enhances and optimizes his growing space organically. What does that look like? For many, the first step is bees. These are the keeper of the yield! Without pollination we have nothing. Its often taken for granted but nothing happens without the pollinating of the fruits and veggies. Developing support plants that keep bees around – lots of flowers, both annual and perennial is a great investment. Even better, put in your own hive. Bees are fascinating to watch, and the honey doesn’t suck either!

Planting hedgerows is a great next step. This serves to cut wind erosion, but also provides a home for the beneficial insects that will keep your pests in check. These beneficial insects are the greatest form of organic pest control in the garden and will replace the need for pesticides later.  Planting a beneficial insect seed mix is also a cost effective solution for any organic garden.

Adding beneficial insect and nematode populations is also a common best practice. Usually these are administered prior to pest problems, not in the off season, obviously. The most common are ladybugs, lacewings, mantids, and predator wasps (not after you, insects). These populations can sometimes overwinter and return the next year.

Building compost is  also a critical part of the equation. And nothing builds compost like animals. Poultry, pigs, cattle, sheep, goats, llama – it don’t matter. This compost provides the nutrients and biology that turns dormant soil into optimum soil.

So the thought is this: if you are really trying to control the stress of summer bugs, heat and weeds, put together the plan now for a better year next year, applying some of these preventive organic gardening steps.

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